"Don't pander to me, kid. One tiny crack in the hull and our blood boils in thirteen seconds. Solar flare might crop up, cook us in our seats. And wait'll you're sitting pretty with a case of Andorian shingles, see if you're still so relaxed when your eyeballs are bleeding. Space is disease and danger wrapped in darkness and silence."
Dr. Leonard "Bones" McCoy, Star Trek (2009)
The INTP Alchemist is the situational rescuer, excelling in understanding the complexity of details and the potential of data; an endless fount of possible ways to make things better. They explore specifics and engineer solutions by finding the plot holes of real life, asking the questions others would never think to ask. And though they tend to pride themselves on their accuracy and use, there lurks within an off-the-wall, child-like quirkiness and a protective love for those whose problems they diligently endeavor to solve.
From childhood, young INTPs are thrilled by possibilities. The ultimate "Idea-Guys”, INTPs get stoked by new ways to do things and new ways to use the world around them. Where their ENTP counterparts approach the whole world with the question, "What can I do with me?,” INTPs are always looking for new and exciting ways to answer the question, "What can I do with this?"
The world for an INTP is aglow with materials that can be learned and explored in their billions of uses. Often finding fascinating ideas in the realms of science fiction or inventions that can reach the height of their imagination when it comes to what possibilities could be, little INTPs can sometimes feel like the world right in front of them little resembles the excitement of the concepts their minds can offer. As others may not appreciate the exciting options a little INTP sees all around them, the INTP may pull in on themselves, preferring to enjoy their cherished ideas on their own, rather than sharing them with others who might not value their merit.
INTPs love depth of knowledge, preferring it over breadth, loving to know everything there is to know about their area of choice. Because their minds automatically prioritize knowing the specific ins-and-outs of what works in potential situations, they love to study and understand *all* there is to know about a given field, so that no imagined situation could come up that their minds couldn't handle. To an INTP, every situation is different and they need to understand all the possible tools they might need to use, but the world is just too big to know everything about *everything*, so their minds naturally pick the fields they care about most, to learn *everything* about some things. :)
This gives the INTP three choices.
Excelling at examining the specific bullet-points of information and data that make up the world around them, INTPs struggle to see how all those bullet-points add up to make a complete picture of the world and the way it works. The universe can be a scary place to an INTP, feeling like trying to nail down zoomed-out principles always leads in their mind to either oversimplified generalities, or a chaotic world that they can never expect to do the same thing twice. This can lead INTPs to Moriarty Fear, the resentment of the world outside their specialization, fearing that they need to specialize in *all* types of information or be rendered obsolete.
This gives INTPs their first choice; to try and imply that any knowledge or expertise outside their own specialization is useless, unimportant or not really intelligence. INTPs who take this first path feel the need to enforce the cultural stereotype that the only kind of intelligence is being good with specific conceptual data and analysis of situations, so that they don't feel secondary to those with other specializations.
But the cultural belief and expectation for INTP to be the "smartest" of the types (whether people know the letters or not) is as detrimental to INTPs as it is to all the other types. Each type is the "smartest" in its own Type Specialization and it puts undue pressure on INTPs to expect them to be smart in all areas, when really they desire to focus on the area they love and shouldn't be expected to be strong in every type's specialization.
And at the same time, the focus on INTPs being mentally strong, an area that our culture equates with INTP's fav of specific data, culturally forbids them from trying, experiencing and getting good at other areas they may want to try. My INFJ and I were startled when facial typing showed us that basketball legend Michael Jordan had the facial structure of an INTP, but it was awesome to read his quotes and reexamine his approach to basketball and recognize that INTP is truly the way he cognates. He was revolutionary in the sport because, rather than having natural physical ability, he instead was constantly trying new possibilities and specializing in exploring what made basketball work. Though he was kicked off his sophomore team for being too small, and always talked about how many shots he missed, he applied concepts of what worked in basketball scenarios to revolutionize the game and become a role model for millions of people. INTPs should feel like they have permission to specialize in *anything*, not like they can only be good at certain types of specialization.
And, of course, I shouldn't have to mention how INTP's smart being the "only" kind of smart makes other types feel. How underappreciated the cleverness of ESTPs are, or the insightful brilliance of ENFJs. What ISFP brings to IP situations or what ENFPs see in the possibilities of people. Each type, when healthy, is the *smartest* in what it loves. The types are a team, without any one of which, the whole thing topples.
An INTP who makes this first choice will end up in constant fear of being usurped or passed, their denial of the validity of knowledge outside their expertise making them lose perspective, and constant comparison with others spreading them thin so that they can't even excel in their own chosen area of specialization. This INTP won't end up feeling like the smartest kid on the block, but in a constant power-struggle that makes them feel of less worth than before.
The second option for an INTP is to accept others belittling their specializations as small, impractical, or unimportant, and for the INTP to believe that maybe the things that mattered to them really weren't as important as they thought or felt, trying not to bother others with the possibilities and options they see all around them. It's easy for an INTP to limit their Type Specialization to the data they deal with, rather than the things they can achieve with that knowledge and understanding. The INTP that lets themselves get disparaged about their own importance can get very down on themselves, not realizing just how much they have to offer.
But when an INTP instead gives themselves permission to delve deep into their favorite area of specific information, enjoying exploring the worlds of potential available through the information they love, when they’re willing to stand up and realize how huge the universe is and enjoy the fact that there is still so much to learn, when they’re willing to stand-up for the heroism inherent in fixing things, the INTP becomes a possibility-revealing problem-solver, quick to find a way out of any dilemma, complexly understanding and drawing conclusions about situations to use each moment to its fullest for the help and benefit of everyone around them. This is the INTP Alchemist.
The conceptual version of the ISTP Weapons Specialist, the Alchemist is the expert of possible solutions. Dr. McCoy’s infamous, "D@#$ it, Jim! I'm a Doctor, not a ________!" (engineer, physicist, escalator...) sums up the way INTPs specialize, perfectly. Whether they decide to know everything about forensic anthropology, archeology, the Force, gadgeteering, con-artistry, vampires, or rocks, the Alchemist is fiction’s go-to for conceptual expertise, finding adorable, geeking-out joy in whatever area tickles their fancy. As a Perceiver, the INTP is so much more about enjoying the options than reaching the destination, and it’s almost inevitable for our Alchemists to geek out and show us the joy of information for its own sake.
Though they can hold their own as protagonists—often of idea stories as the sage scientist or librarian thrown into the action, having to use their know-how to maneuver situations with their knowledge of ancient runes or local customs—more often the Alchemist is found as part of a team, where they can bounce off of teammates. With a dry, snarky sense of humor and an often hidden childlike enthusiasm about their treasured ideas, the Alchemist doesn't find use in fakery and is at the ready to point out flaws in situational conclusions without a lot of sugar-coating. Though this might be a trait the Alchemist themselves may regret, as an audience there is something refreshing about a character who is willing to say it like it is, even to their friends. But what they often lack in tact, the Alchemist makes up for in dedication. No matter the time or tediousness required, when an Alchemist’s team needs their solutions, no one can pull them from their self-driven mission.
By nature, Dark Alchemists are nihilist. Though many INTPs lose perspective about the meaning in the world, as is their weakest area (Principles via Fe), an INTP turns villainous when they are threatened about their struggles to understand the world’s meaning to the point that they want to destroy that meaning for others. Usually intensely scary in their ability to cleverly and adaptively break the world around them, Dark Alchemists always have a principle bone to pick with the protagonist, bent on proving that the universe really works in the dark, meaningless way they try and demonstrate. Whether they don’t want anyone to be special, want to prove that all people are animals, or want to destroy the universe itself, they'll always be trying to prove, “That’s what people *do!*” or other oversimplified universal principles.
But INTPs need to realize that the questions that to them may seem unanswerable, of universal scale and importance, may come easily to other types whose minds prioritize the workings behind the universe, and INTPs need to remember once again that they don't need to do it all. To prevent from feeling like the world and life are meaningless, an INTP needs a good infrastructure of friends who respect and value their strengths, while still providing differing strengths to support a healthy Alchemist.
Alchemist or Dark Alchemist, a strong INTP is sure to be brilliantly good at whatever they choose to do, with the ability to see potential openings all around them and find solutions wherever they look.
Male: Toby Ziegler, The West Wing
Female: Dr. Jemma Simmons, Agents of Shield
Villain: The Joker, The Dark Knight
Who are the Type Heroes? Read the intro here, and stay tuned to meet them all!